When I was told to “dream big” but instead I failed big

I was scrolling through tweets and came across one that stated; “At home today…. dreaming”.  Initially when I saw this tweet I rolled my eyes and even scoffed.    Not even a few minutes later I thought, “Why wouldn’t I want someone to dream?”

I once was once one who dreamed; a visionary with a heart full of faith.   I remember a time at a youth convention in Kamloops,  being called out onto the stage by a great leader who spoke over my life in front of over 3000 people; “Dream big woman of God”.    I was moved in my spirit and felt like a champion.   I had many other similar experiences on different occasions, calling me out, proclaiming over my life that I would walk in greatness.   It actually became rare to not hear this things.

What happened?  Everything I “dreamed” crashed.  I was moved to a new city with a new born resulting in isolation.  The business I had birthed from the ground up with blood, sweat and tears crumbled.  My father had passed away, my mom re-married.  Everything I knew and loved was taken.

I found myself continually scoffing at the word, “dream”.  I had a, “Been there, done that, got the T-shirt…” kind of attitude.  I’ve found myself pouting with a whiny heart; “What about ME God? When do you plan on releasing ME?”   I would wait. What was I waiting for?  For my “time”?  For “success” to come?

Ridiculous, because I discovered quickly that it’s not about me.

Through this process, I forgot an important kingdom principle:  those who are given little will be given more.  Those who serve will lead.  Those who are last will be first.  Our culture, and even church culture, encourages us to “dream big”.  What my 20-something year old self didn’t realize is that you don’t just go for the “big” until you’ve earned your badges through faithfulness in the “small”.  You can’t be a “Joyce Meyer” until you’ve had the heart of “Mother Teresa”.   And honestly, at the end of the day, it’s that really the big dream? To be a “Joyce Meyer”? Is that what Jesus has in mind for all of us?  I personally have no desire. I have met numerous women who have stated this is what they feel they are called to be.  Not to say this won’t be their reality, but I think there’s something that needs to be evaluated when we find our aspirations leading to such a limited view of “success”.  (and by no means, I’m not demeaning what Mother Teresa did, or stating it was “small”.  I simply refer to the life of sacrifice and service she demonstrated as a perfect example of being faithful with small and being trusted with more)

Kingdom principle works like this: I’m given a dollar and I invest it the best I can.  I don’t sit there holding my dollar doing nothing with it dreaming about what I would do with a hundred dollars.  No.  I foster a heart of faithfulness and obedience in small and in great, stewarding what I’ve been given with a heart to serve.   “Greatness” and “success” in the eyes of the kingdom look very different than what it looks like through eyes of the mortal.  I need the Kingdom to be my ambition.

I am sold on focusing my efforts on being faithful with whatever has been placed in my hands today.  I can then be trusted with more tomorrow.  I only desire to carry what my character can handle.

I learned the hard way, there are no shortcuts.

But here’s the even greater truth: what if I use that investment for the kingdom and not just for my own ambition?  What if I’m invited to be a part of God’s dream and abandon my own?  Maybe in that, I will find the purpose individualism has been seeking to bring to me, but could never fulfill.  Because even the “be faithful with little” principle when wrapped in an individualistic mindset can still have no sight of Jesus.  Well intentioned, good works can lay barren in the end when it was all just to build a personal empire.

Today my prayer is: “All of my ambitions, hopes and plans – I surrender these into Your hands.  Jesus, all for Jesus.  All I am and have, and ever hope to be.

12 Responses to When I was told to “dream big” but instead I failed big
  1. MichelleNo Gravatar Reply

    Needed this! I have been struggling and trying makes sense of the desires of my heart vs. the here and now and what is happening in my life. I love the line “visionary with a heart full of faith”. I was told I was that by my Pastor 2.5 years ago and I am waiting and trying to be obedient for the “vision” to come to fruition……The road has been very windy and certainly His ways are higher! Thanks for the encouragement to live the upside down economy and go low so He can be lifted high! Press on in HIM Culture Rebel!

    • connieNo Gravatar Reply

      Yes Michelle! Stay faithful :)

  2. Beth SmithNo Gravatar Reply

    Thank you for sharing. It is in the grassroots of anything that we often find the most satisfaction:) I have learned it and although it is hard everyday I choose to serve Him with my whole heart and try to keep focused:) I am thankful for you Connie and all you have taught me over the years. I value you and your mentorship:) Blessings to you my friend:)

    • connieNo Gravatar Reply

      you bless my life, Beth. I’ve always admired your heart of gold :)

  3. ChelseaNo Gravatar Reply

    I swear it’s like I don’t even have to write my own blogs… you pretty write what I’m experiencing or learning. Thanks for putting it into such wonderful words!!!


    • connieNo Gravatar Reply

      haha, you’re such a kindred, Chelsea :)

  4. James PopoffNo Gravatar Reply

    Good to hear others pondering on this subject which is the heart of burnt thicket theatre’s latest play – SOLO JOE.

    • connieNo Gravatar Reply

      we’ll have to come and check that out Jamie!

  5. WendyNo Gravatar Reply

    Con, love your heart! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Tim SchindelNo Gravatar Reply

    It’s ironic that your post would appear on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s iconic ‘I Have a Dream’ speech.

    ‘In our world, ‘Dream’ is as overused as ‘Passion’, yet both are sadly lacking. It’s no wonder that you (and many others…) have a jaded view of the word.

    What we failed to grasp in our ‘Dream days’ is that dreams aren’t free. The dream you dream can happen, but life as you know it will change dramatically and it will cost you everything to see it come to pass.

    When I look at your life, I see a dream unfolding. I don’t know what you dreamed on that day at Kamloops, but today, you are a wife, mom of two thriving boys, a published author, calling people to rise to a level of living that is contrary to the culture. You are connected to leaders and influencers in your city who are seeking to eliminate poverty. You are resurrecting your business and engaging in sharing your passion for dance through teaching and performance. That passion is giving you a platform to speak and invest into the lives of children, youth and their parents in meaningful ways.

    I don’t think what you describe is a failure in any way. Destiny is discovered in the desert. Every successful person I know has been through a desert/wilderness experience. We are refined, gain maturity, wisdom, grace and courage to live out the dream in the wilderness. It’s not easy, but in retrospect, it qualifies to live out the dream that we carry in our hearts.

    Dream on…

    • connieNo Gravatar Reply

      wow Tim, thank you for your kind, empowering words. I’ve always deeply appreciated your input and wisdom in my life.

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